HHS: Health Reform Has Ended Lifetime Coverage Limits for 105M People
The federal health reform law has eliminated lifetime coverage limits for more than 105 million U.S. residents, according to an HHS report released Monday, The Hill's "Healthwatch" reports (Pecquet, ("Healthwatch," The Hill, 3/5).
The overhaul prohibits health plans from imposing lifetime limits on most benefits in any health plan that was renewed on or after Sept. 23, 2010 (CQ HealthBeat, 3/5).
The report estimates that 70 million people in large employer plans, 25 million in small employer plans and 10 million in plans purchased on the individual market had lifetime limits on their health benefits prior to the federal health reform law (Letourneau, Healthcare Finance News, 3/5).
In a statement released along with the report, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said, "For years, Americans with lifetime caps imposed on their health insurance benefits have had to live with the fear that if an illness or accident happened, they could max out their health coverage when they needed it the most." She added, "Now, because of the health care law, they no longer have to live in fear of that happening" ("Healthwatch," The Hill, 3/5).
The Obama administration also released new state data on other overhaul provisions that have benefitted U.S. residents, including the number of Medicare beneficiaries receiving new preventive benefits and various state grants (Healthcare Finance News, 3/5).
GOP Pursues New Methods Against Overhaul
In related news, Republicans are testing new methods of attacking the overhaul, including using money from the reform law to pay for necessary legislation, CQ Weekly reports.
The GOP recently found success with this method in the payroll tax extension that passed both chambers on Feb. 17. To help offset the measure's nearly $150 billion cost, $5 billion was taken from the overhaul's prevention and public health fund (Ethridge, CQ Weekly, 3/5).
Senate GOP, Conservatives Clash Over Reform Repeal
Senate Republicans and conservative groups are at odds over whether to continue efforts to repeal the federal health reform law this year, The Hill's "Healthwatch" reports.
The conservative advocacy group Restore America's Voice Foundation plans to spend between $50,000 and $100,000 weekly on nationwide TV ads to pressure Senate Republicans for a repeal vote (Bolton, "Healthwatch," The Hill, 3/6).
Last week, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) conceded to pressure from the RAVF and reversed course on comments he made previously in the week that he wanted to wait until after the November election to continue efforts to repeal the overhaul Â (Pecquet/Bolton, "Healthwatch," The Hill, 3/1).
However, McConnell since has resisted pushing for a vote because the Senate Republican Conference is divided on the issue ("Healthwatch," The Hill, 3/6). RAVF has said it would launch an advertising campaign calling for McConnell to resign if he does not prove he is serious about repealing the overhaul ("Healthwatch," The Hill, 3/1).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.